A Thesis Statement Is A

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement clearly identifies the topic being discussed, it should only cover what is being discussed in the paper, and is written for a specific audience. Your thesis statement belongs at the end of your first paragraph, also known as your introduction. Use it to generate interest in your topic and encourage your audience to continue reading.

You can read chapter four of Schaum's Quick Guide to Writing Great Research Papers an eBook in our online collection, click the title to open: "How Do I Write a Thesis Statement?".

Another option is to think of a thesis statement as one complete sentence that expresses your position.

  • Narrows the topic down to a specific focus of an investigation.
  • Establishes a direction for the entire paper.
  • Points forward to the conclusion.
  • Always stated in your introduction. (Usually at the end of the first paragraph).
  • Always take a stand and justify further discussion.

A thesis statement is not a statement of fact.

Your readers—especially your instructors—want to read writing that engages them. Consequently, you must write thesis statements that are arguable, not factual. Statements of fact seem easy to write about because, well, they are easy to prove. After all, they’re facts. The problem is that you cannot write engaging papers around statements of fact. Such theses prevent you from demonstrating critical thinking and analytical skills, which you want to show your instructor. If you were to write a paper around the next two statements, your writing would probably be quite dull because you would be restating facts that the general public already knows.

Thesis Statements always take a stand and justify further discussion.

In order to make your writing interesting, you should develop a thesis statement that is arguable. Sometimes you will be writing to persuade others to see things your way and other times you will simply be giving your strong opinion and laying out your case for it.


Take a look at the following examples:

Statement of fact:

Small cars get better fuel mileage than 4x4 pickup trucks.

Arguable thesis statement:

The government should ban 4x4 pickup trucks except for work-related use.


Statement of fact:

Foul language is common in movies.

Arguable thesis statement:

The amount of foul language in movies is disproportionate to the amount of foul language in real life.


Statement of fact:

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease.

Arguable thesis statement/opening paragraph:

Researchers think the incidence of celiac disease is increasing in the USA not only because of an increase in the ability and awareness to diagnose it, but also because of changes in the agricultural system. In particular, they are looking at the increased use of pesticides, insecticides, and genetically modified wheat as culprits. Some of these theories are more likely to be valid than others.

Thesis Statement Guide Development Tool

Follow the steps below to formulate a thesis statement. All cells must contain text.

1. State your topic.

2. State your opinion/main idea about this topic.
This will form the heart of your thesis. An effective statement will

  • express one major idea.
  • name the topic and assert something specific about it.
  • be a more specific statement than the topic statement above.
  • take a stance on an issue about which reasonable people might disagree.
  • state your position on or opinion about the issue.

3. Give the strongest reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

4. Give another strong reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

5. Give one more strong reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

6. Include an opposing viewpoint to your opinion/main idea, if applicable. This should be an argument for the opposing view that you admit has some merit, even if you do not agree with the overall viewpoint.

7. Provide a possible title for your essay.




Thesis Statement Guide Results

Thesis Statement Model #1: Sample Thesis Statement

Parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Thesis Statement Model #2: Thesis with Concession

Notice that this model makes a concession by addressing an argument from the opposing viewpoint first, and then uses the phrase "even though" and states the writer's opinion/main idea as a rebuttal.

Even though television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Thesis Statement Model #3: Thesis with Reasons

Here, the use of "because" reveals the reasons behind the writer's opinion/main idea.

parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it isn't always intellectually stimulating.

Thesis Statement Model #4: Thesis with Concession and Reasons

This model both makes a concession to opposing viewpoint and states the reasons/arguments for the writer's main idea.

While television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it inhibits social interaction, shortens children's attention spans, and isn't always intellectually stimulating.

Remember: These thesis statements are generated based on the answers provided on the form. Use the Thesis Statement Guide as many times as you like. Your ideas and the results are anonymous and confidential. When you build a thesis statement that works for you, ensure that it addresses the assignment. Finally, you may have to rewrite the thesis statement so that the spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct.

Thesis Statement Guide: Sample Outline

Use the outline below, which is based on the five–paragraph essay model, when drafting a plan for your own essay. This is meant as a guide only, so we encourage you to revise it in a way that works best for you.

Introductory Paragraph

Start your introduction with an interesting "hook" to reel your reader in. An introduction can begin with a rhetorical question, a quotation, an anecdote, a concession, an interesting fact, or a question that will be answered in your paper. The idea is to begin broadly and gradually bring the reader closer to the main idea of the paper. At the end of the introduction, you will present your thesis statement. The thesis statement model used in this example is a thesis with reasons.

Even though television can be educational , parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it is not always intellectually stimulating

Paragraph #1

First, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans.

Notice that this Assertion is the first reason presented in the thesis statement. Remember that the thesis statement is a kind of "mapping tool" that helps you organize your ideas, and it helps your reader follow your argument. In this body paragraph, after the Assertion, include any evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports this first point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Paragraph #2

Additionally, it inhibits social interaction.

The first sentence of the second body paragraph should reflect an even stronger Assertion to support the thesis statement. Generally, the second point listed in the thesis statement should be developed here. Like with the previous paragraph, include any evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports this point after the Assertion. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Paragraph #3

Finally, the most important reason parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch is it is not always intellectually stimulating.

Your strongest point should be revealed in the final body paragraph. Also, if it's appropriate, you can address and refute any opposing viewpoints to your thesis statement here. As always, include evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports your strongest point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Concluding Paragraph

Indeed, while television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Rephrase your thesis statement in the first sentence of the conclusion. Instead of summarizing the points you just made, synthesize them. Show the reader how everything fits together. While you don't want to present new material here, you can echo the introduction, ask the reader questions, look to the future, or challenge your reader.

Remember: This outline is based on the five–paragraph model. Expand or condense it according to your particular assignment or the size of your opinion/main idea. Again, use the Thesis Statement Guide as many times as you like, until you reach a thesis statement and outline that works for you.

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